The Five Qualities that Make for the Best Employees

By Scott Vollero

Let’s face it: employees are the most important part of your business. They are the people who get things done, who make everything work, and make the wheels turn. And as a result, you need them to be the most skilled, most intelligent, and all-around best people you can find.

Which is why hiring is so tricky.

Even if you want to hire someone for the next 2-10 years (or more), you nonetheless need to get to know them in a period of just a few weeks. At the very least, you need to get to know them well enough to know whether or not to give them a shot.

Hard? Yes. Impossible? No. And to help out, we’ll give you five qualities to look for when you’re hiring new employees.


Many jobs may require lots of experience, and if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s easy enough to measure. Your candidate’s experience will be printed out all over their resume or CV, and simply asking them about it can get them to wax eloquently about their time spent at XYZ company, or in ABC industry.

Sometimes, what’s better than experience is aptitude — lots of talents or skills. A candidate who is a master at social grace can be trained to be an excellent sales rep, even if they’ve never done sales before. And best of all, they’ll learn to do it your way, without having to unlearn anything they’ve experienced before!


Attitude is everything — a word which needs no definition. What good are all the skills and experiences in the world if you don’t have the desire to get out of the chair and use them? Look for the right attitude in your candidates and you won’t go wrong.


This could almost be called intelligence, but that might get confused with IQ — which it is definitely not. A good employee knows how to take a problem and get it dealt with, even if that problem is tough, or challenging, or has never been solved before. All major technological advances come from people who, when told that something was impossible, found a way to do it anyway. That takes creativity in spades.


Your employees need to give their all for your company. That doesn’t mean they need to spend late nights and weekends in the office, which just produces burnout and malcontent. When they actually are at work, though, they need to be fully present and doing all they can. By all means, they can leave at 5pm and watch kittens for hours on the internet, but the workday is (sadly for them) a kitten-free zone.


Last but not least, this is one of the most important qualities you should look for in employees, friends, and partners alike. Especially at work, people need to give their A Game. If a report is to be on your desk by 5pm on Friday, 5:01pm is just as bad as 10pm. If people can master integrity for the day-to-day, you know they’re upholding it in their work for you, too.

New hires are a tricky thing. It’s easy to hire someone who looks good on paper, but turns out to be a disappointment in practice. That’s not a good match, and it’s not fair to either of you. As the employer, it’s your responsibility to protect both of your interests and use these five qualities as a guide to selecting only the best candidates.

Good Luck!